In the past 10 years I have managed many social media projects – some even before that catch phrase was coined. While every company seems to want to be on the various social networks, very few seem to grasp how and why
As they say – to cut to the chase: Social Media is and should be social. That may seem like an obvious statement but many campaigns seem to miss that point. Here are some examples of Social Media Myth busting and one surprising example of social media done right.
- Signing up people to like your product or service by giving them something
I was at the New York Auto show at the Javits Center this past Spring. One auto company was giving away tee shirts if you “liked” their Facebook page. They probably gave away 1000 tee shirts and got 1000 likes. If their apparel budget permitted 1 million tee shirts, they perhaps could get 1 million likes. So what?
By the way, I got a tee shirt for “liking” them. I can’t even tell you what company it was or where I put my treasured prize.
Getting random people, who are fundamentally unconnected, with no interest in each other or even the product to join a social network, just to show you have “numbers” is a waste of time and money – except for the company that makes the tee-shirts, and supplies the models to hand them out. A quick estimate for that campaign would be $10K for a consultant to “produce” the marketing event, another $10K to produce the tee shirts and likely $5K in costs for contractors (models) to hand-out the tee-shirts. That’s at least $25K spend on getting 1000 “likes”. It would be better to have a website that says “like me”, and I will send you ten bucks.
How many times do you think any of these people visited the company’s Facebook page? How many of their friends decided “Gee, I better like that page also?” How much original user generated content was created because of this campaign?
As we say in NJ….Ugats!
- Trying to create a great social network around boring content , is … boring, unless its not.
Let me explain. If you put up photos and comments about little Jimmy’s second grade music lesson it may be boring to the masses, but for the little Jimmy’s family it’s interesting and fun. One picture can generate 20 comments in a family circle. If you take that same picture and put it on a website that sells music lessons, will anyone comment or care? Will family members share that link on their Facebook walls or Twitter rolls? Interest in content is contextual. Members of a social network must be self-motivated to spread the word, comment, contribute and create the viral impact of social media.
An interesting example of social networking done correctly is a delicatessen in Newark New Jersey. Hobby’s deli has been a family run Jewish restaurant since the invention of corned beef. The real life Hobby’s experience includes fabulous food and even better “schmoozing” between the customers and especially with the two brothers who are the owners. From the lunch time crowd of lawyers and politicians to the enthusiastic dinner hockey fans on their way to watch a game, Hobby’s provides social subsistence along with the knishes.
To take the Hobby’s experience and bring it to Facebook was not a guaranteed success. The owners did not pay an “expert” thousands of dollars to help them with the project. They applied their natural real-life social networking skills and put it on Facebook. The formula is simple. They comment on what is going on at the restaurant. Who is having a birthday? Feeding the Ringling Brothers Elephants, a visit from a pro athlete, little contests between the two brothers, playing the role of a Leprechaun for the holiday celebrating the Patron Saint of Corned Beef – (St Patrick) and the ever-present Devils fans. Within this content come mentions of the daily special and photos of the food. While the latter elements are clearly advertising, they come across more in context of the overall Hobby’s narrative.
By taking what is already happening in real life and placing it in social media they have created a tempting morsel for a loyal clientele. They have less than 1000 likes as of the writing of this blog, but I am sure that is not bothering Hobby’s. The likes that they do have, really like Hobby’s. When their patrons comment, and they do it often, it spreads virally across Facebook.
To achieve their success they did not stand on the corner of Halsey Street and hand out sandwiches to random people just to get them to like their page. The Facebook page is becoming a contextual meeting place for their patrons and obviously drives business. It has the right ingredients: a consumer base that has something in common, content that they find interesting, a natural willingness to generate user comments and a real ROI for the business. Win-Win-Win
I’m hungry now – time for a trip to Newark.